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Jukebox the Ghost w/ Mainland

Feb 23, 2016


On a seemingly uneventful Monday, Mainland, a band fresh from NYC took the stage at the Varsity Theatre. The Varsity offers a unique concert experience, it's dimly lit, the walls are covered in brick and vine, and the place fosters a unique energy. Dressed in denim and ready to rock, the show began. The audience was enthusiastic and in matching attire, as if everyone at the show was distantly related. Lead singer for Mainland Jordan Topf dominated the stage as the show went on, doing a great job of interacting with the crowd. Full of energy, the band jumped, bobbed and swayed vigorously to their own jams, encouraging the crowd to do the same. By the end of their first song the audience was hooked and was into it as much as they were. Mainlands music is reminiscent of bands like The Clash, Depeche Mode, and The Cure but is also sonically similar to modern rock pop. As their set ended it was clear the audience wanted more, I guess we'll just have to wait until their new album Night Trials comes out. You can read all about their upcoming release in the interview with the band below.

Jukebox the Ghost


When Jukebox took the stage, even having prior knowledge that the band only contained three people, I was still impressed that they manage to achieve such a full sound. The band is composed of Tommy Siegel on guitar and vocals, Ben Thornewill on piano and vocals, and Jesse Kristin on drums and vocals. As the show went on it was clear that each member fulfilled multiple musical roles, at least more than their bio listed. Ben played stacked piano’s and synth’s but also hit multiple triggers and pads, multiple times Jesse lobbed one of his drumsticks in the air and quickly took up a tambourine or shaker to play. The audience was warmed up from Mainlands set and was totally grooving with Jukebox. Tommy did a great job interacting with the crowd, keeping them engaged through light hearted banter. Towards the end of the concert, Ben held up a giant spinnable wheel full of song options, ranging from classical music to songs they just never play anymore. Amusingly enough the spinner landed on an option that required each member to switch instruments, in a funny exchange the band attempted the song but was unable to make it past the song's bridge. They quickly and light-heartedly switched back to their proper instruments and finished an amazing show, ending it with several of their top hits. I don't think anybody in the audience left the Varsity Theatre that night disappointed.

Jukebox the Ghost - An Interview with Tommy Siegel

Us: Do you have pre-show rituals?

Tommy: Yes, that’s where I’ll be after this, doing vocal warmups and things.

Us​: How do you like Minneapolis?

Tommy: It's one of our favorite cities in the midwest, it's always been great to us. We were
expecting harsher weather, we always play Minneapolis in February so this isn't bad at all.

Us: What's the hardest part about touring?

Tommy: It's exhausting. It's fun if you have a lot of energy, but if you are sick or tired it gets
old. If you can imagine going to a bar every single night, it sounds great, but if you get the flu you
still have to show up and put on a show.

Us: What’s your favorite song to play?

Tommy: Usually whatever is new. We play so many shows that the enjoyment of playing
each song wears out. Your putting on a show, ya know? You have to work for it.

Us: What's the hardest song to play?

Tommy: “The Stars” is hard for me because it's high and has a lot a words, I'm always
catching my breath. It's a vocal workout.

Us: What are your thoughts on Kanye West's new album; The Life of Pablo?

Tommy: I'm a fan of Kanye West but I have not heard the new record. But I like [Ultralight
Beam] a lot.

Us: Do you have plans for a fifth album?

Tommy: We are working on it. We are in that stage where we are like, “Oh, we have to write
another record soon.” We are all currently in the process of writing. Before this tour started even,
we were working on 6 or 7 songs.

Us: Are you going to try anything new with this upcoming album?

Tommy: We have been feeling more of a live sound recently. Our last album had a lot of electronic elements but I think we're feeling the endulum swing the other way. We almost want to make a more classic rock type record, like Queen.

Mainland - An Interview with the Band

Us: How do you like Minneapolis?
Jordan: We love it here. We played at the Go96.3 showcase this past week. It was nice, we
were able to go to some thrift stores and some legendary bars around here. The CC club where the
Replacements used to play at was very cool, as well as Treehouse records.

Us: How’s the tour with Jukebox the Ghost going?
Corey: So far it's been great, they are really easy to get along with. We love their music and
their shows. We first saw them when they drove down the street towards us [at our first show with
them]. They rolled down the window and yelled at us “Hey are you guys in a band?”. I guess we
were being very conspicuous, we were wearing all black. [Laughs]

Us: Who’s your biggest musical influence?
Joey: Michael Jackson.
Jordan: The Cure, Depeche Mode, Iggy Pop, Spoon, The Velvet Underground.
Corey: AC/DC.
Alex: The Clash.

Us: What are your thoughts on Kanye West's new album; The Life of Pablo?
Corey: We are a Kanye-lovin’ band. However, I think we are all still figuring out the new
Joey: I think he's talking about his life right now. He's a father, he's going a little crazy and
doing his thing. He's having a great time.
Jordan: I love the single a lot; “No More Parties in L.A.” We love the song about Taylor
Swift, “Famous.”Sam Legierski - Show Review, Both Interviews
Dan Dodge - Both Interviews

Us: You have two EP’s out. When’s the album coming?
Jordan: The albums done. It's mastered, we have art, and it’s 11 songs long. It’s called Night
Trials and it probably will be coming out in the Summer or Fall of 2016. We recorded it at Sound
City in L.A. We want to build up the single and the EP first before we drop the album so it has
enough heat behind it. We are really excited to show the album to everyone.

Sam Legierski, Dan Dodge